Clouds of dust rose as the bullock herd stampeded across the plains. Out here, many carnivores lurked, and the beasts had learned to trust their instincts. Fear was survival.
Minutes ago, as the herd had stood grazing in the blazing noon sun, the lead bull had felt something, something hunting them. A presence he had not sensed before, far away, but powerful. They had left, travelling at full speed, covering many miles.
But nothing gave chase, no danger appeared. The herd slowed down. With nothing to sustain their fear, the urgency left their gallop, and they stopped. The leader remained irritated, as the feeling of menace refused to lessen. It was wrong, nothing was after them. He bent his neck to graze.
The shrill scream of an eagle split the air, and the already tense herd scattered across the plains. The leader checked his dash, skidding to a stop to see which of his herd needed aid. As a blurred red shape crashed into his side, he realised the only one in immediate danger, was him. He turned to face the predator, but a powerful blow to his side knocked him down. As he struggled to rise, he felt strong hands grasp his horns — human hands. With a toss of his strong neck, he hurled the offender backwards and turned. Humans he had dealt with before.
As the body thumped to the ground, the charging bull impacted. Satisfaction registered in the beast’s mind, as it heard a sharp gasp from its victim. Wrenching its horns free, it rose for another gouge to finish the wounded figure, but abruptly swerved sideways as it felt claws rake its side. It fell to face the new menace, but the open prairie revealed nothing. Then the human was on him. He reared, attempted to throw the attacker again to the ground. The human clung on as the beast bucked and twisted, before a solid blow to the head ended all conscious thoughts…